BEREA: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be just 1-6 as they prepare to take on the Browns on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium, but they definitely tower over them in one area.

When the Buccaneers offense lines up against the Browns defense, cornerbacks Joe Haden and Buster Skrine will be looking at two receivers — rookie Mike Evans and veteran Vincent Jackson — who are each listed at 6-foot-5 and more than 230 pounds.

When you consider that Haden (5-foot-11) and Skrine (5-foot-9) will be giving up a minimum of 6 inches each, that could be a significant mountain to climb.

Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith, however, downplayed any advantage that Evans and Jackson may have.

“I don’t know if there’s a distinct advantage you can really harp on too much,” he said. “I think if you talked to the Browns corners they’ll tell you they’ve been that size most of their lives playing against taller receivers most of their lives, so I don’t think this is anything new to them.

“As far as we’re concerned, we do like having bigger bodies. Every once in a while that comes into play, but most of the time it’s not really that much of a factor.”

Browns coach Mike Pettine didn’t seem to agree.

“He’s a playmaker — big-bodied guy that is like a power forward, has a great sense of timing and the ability to high-point a ball,” Pettine said of Evans, a rookie who was Johnny Manziel’s primary target at Texas A&M. “That’ll be the challenge for our guys this week, to make sure that we can stay on top.”

Pettine said Jackson (26 receptions, 357 yards, 13.7 yards per catch, two TDs) is similar to his rookie teammate. But he said he’s not surprised that Evans, a player the Browns took a look at prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, is enjoying success in the league already.

Manziel offered high praise for Evans, who he counts as one of his best friends.

“I wouldn’t have gone where I went in the draft if it wasn’t for countless amount of guys, but you really look at the guys who also went in the draft the past couple of years,” Manziel said. “All of my teammates that I’ve had over the years helped me get there, and especially Mike being my biggest target over the past couple of years.”

Evans has caught 25 passes for 336 yards (13.4 yards per catch) and two scores this season. He said he’s going to continue to do what he’s been doing.

“When the ball comes my way, catch it,” he said on a recent teleconference. “Be physical in the run game, and just give the best effort I can. I cause mismatch problems for smaller DBs. I can play the slot. I can play any side of the field, and just making plays when it comes down to it.”

Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said the two are particularly dangerous in one area on the field.

“They present problems on deep balls down the sideline. I think it’s hard to say you’re just going to press those guys all the time,” he said. “You probably need to play them more from off and take away some of the deep ball stuff or discourage them from throwing that. Our DBs know that they’re going to be in for a physical fight on Sunday afternoon.”

Evans said he’s expecting the Browns to challenge him.

“I watched a little bit of film on them,” he said. “They’re real good. Joe Haden — he’s a Pro Bowler, a high-paid corner. He’s a really good player. And No. 22 [Skrine] is real physical. He seems fearless. We’re going to have our hands full with those guys, but we’re going to try to bring the physicality to them.”

And that is just what Haden, coming off his best game of the season, and Skrine are expecting from the Buccaneers receivers.

“Because they’re bigger, longer guys, they can use their bodies to box guys out,” Skrine said. “They look to stiff-arm guys after they catch the ball because they’re longer.”

To combat that, O’Neil said some things will be done differently for Sunday’s game. Skrine, who has two interceptions this season, said he’ll be able to adjust.

“I feel like I’ve got good feet, so some plays other games we’ve played off,” he said. “But we’ll play more off this game and just give them a different look.”

As for Haden, he said technique will remain a key for dealing with the two receivers and that it will be important to play the ball in the air.

“There’s going to be a lot of jump balls,” he said. “Make sure you stay attached to the hip and make sure you get your eyes back so you can be able to contest some of those jump balls.”

George M. Thomas can be reached at gmthomas@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/George-M-Thomas.